Osram Factory Tour

A few months from its editorial ‘makeover’, ZioGiorgio International Network accepted another invitation from a truly international company.

Just back frim a trip to the Czech Republic where we visited Robe Lighting, we got an invite we couldn’t say no to – a visit to Berlin to one of the production units of Osram, to be present at the entire production process of the P-VIP lamps, and to find out about a new and revolutionary light creating technology …

Ok, we’re off jet setting again and in just a few hours we reach the German capital on a beautiful sunny day!

We dedicate our first afternoon to visiting the Berlin museum of cinema (Filmhaus) at the Sony Center, highly appreciated and which has, of course, close connections with our visit to Osram because the German multinational company has always had an important role in the cinema world with its famous projector lamps.

And after a really nice dinner in a typical restaurant we go back to our hotel on Postdamer Plazse.

The next morning is warm and sunny and at about nine o’clock the group of fifteen international journalists from all over the world are ready in the hall to go to one of the seven production sites of Osram in Berlin, the factory that manufactures the P-VIP lamps. And after a short presentation in the meeting room, we start off on our visit.


Osram’s P-VIP lamps are part of the high-yield mercury vapor category but, unlike other high-yield lamps, thy do not use other metal halides…

Osram’s P-VIP lamps are part of the high-yield mercury vapor category but, unlike other high-yield lamps, thy do not use other metal halides for the luminous arc but only and exclusively mercury. In terms of luminance, P-VIP is at a really high level, with a nominal value of 10^10 cd/m2, which makes all types of lamps suitable for consumer projectors and much more. P-VIP also includes a series of highly diversified parabolas as per its use, with both elliptic and parabolic shapes, as well as an equally important management units – the lamp driver – also manufactured by Osram in one of its other production units. The production process to make a complete bulb has different phases starting from a simple glass tube to the finished and ready to use “burner”. One of the critical steps that determine the reliability and quality of the lamps is its glass enclosure that must be made of material of the highest purity and quality as it has to withstand internal pressure of about 330 bar and temperatures of 3500°C. In the first part of our tour we had the possibility of observing how the glass tube is processed until it becomes the sphere-shaped central bulb to which the spirals of glass are added. The figure below gives a simplified explanation of the entire process which, seen live, is much more structured.


Schematic presentation of the manufacture of the bulbs.

Another important aspect of production regards the monitoring and control of the semi-processed materials during each process phase. Other than the use of lasers to test distances and tolerances, and other sensors – each with a precise scope, it was interesting to see how each completely automatic machine has been created to be almost transparent, making the mechanical parts easy to see and access, thus making maintenance both fast and efficient. The obvious advantage regards time and, consequently, cost savings. This latter aspect was greatly requested by the company’s technicians and, confirming the attention dedicated to monitoring and quality control, we discovered that more than 1000 parameters are registered and put into a data bank, making up the history of each light bulb.


One of the control phases using lasers.

On the other hand, to give you an idea of the circulation of the P-VIP Osram lamps, just think that up to now, about 50% of the lamps used in the numerous OEM projectors are manufactured by Osram and the company’s annual production capacity is about 3,5 million lamps, with a potential capacity of about almost 4.0 million, and continuously growing.

Phaser Tecnology

We leave the assembly area and go back to the offices where we take our seats in a small demo room. And this is where we get to see the real reason of our visit to Osram: the new Phaser technology that Osram really believes in and which, we are sure, will make big changes to the professional lighting sector.

Phaser is a name made up of two words: Phosphor and Laser, and this is where we need to start to understand what it really is…

Phosphorous is a key element in the creation of coloured light, and without it the mainly blue laser rays or beans could not have any colour. Simplifying things, the mechanism is as follows: the laser beam hits a turning wheel with phosphorous emitting red, yellow and green, and so a sequence of colours is generated that is so fast that the naked eye only sees a single image and the magic of light is created!

In reality, the mechanism of operating mechanism we have just described is a synthesis of a series of more detailed processes that also includes specifically introduced optics that are explained in the figure below.


Graphic of Phaser technology

Other than purely technical aspects, going more in detail we can highlight some of the focal points that show why Phaser technology is surely interesting and revolutionary.

First and foremost, the unit that generates the light and which we can approssimazione call “lamp” is, according to Osram, “true-to-life”, which means that it is everlasting and does not need to be substituted as it can be used with the projector for its entire working life.

However, as we said during our tour, there are moving parts, first of all the colour wheel, that could be subject to wear, but Osram guaranteed that these kinds of deterioration, if they exist/take place, do so after considerably long periods and therefore do not have any effect during the working life of of the tool.

And what about the quality of the light? Let’s speak first about quantity as the Phaser is potentially able to produce a luminousity that is, up to now, impossible for any other light emission technology. And the reason for this is simple as the higher number of diodes the laser generates can be positioned in array and organized so that their different beams converge in a single point with a high amount of extremely concentrated power. It is also well known that it is more complicated to concentrate the light, if not with ottiche specifically studied for this purpose, with LED technology, for example.

At present there are three power steps responding to different targets.


Power steps available today for Phaser.

We also have to consider that thanks Phaser technology, the light is available immediately after switching on the light, and there is no longer the need to cool down the projector after being switched off.

And what about quality? We saw some “test projectors” being tried out and the output light seems to be really good, but, obviously, the location was not the correct place to carry out this type of test. From what we saw, there is no doubt that the results could be absolutely surprising in different uses. And we will not have to wait too long before having a projector with Phaser technology because Osram’s technicians confirmed that they will be on sale – we are speaking about other brands because Osram doesn’t make complete projectors – by the end of this year.

And our imagination runs wild here because this light source could be integrated in many other different types of equipment that need powerful and dimmable light…

And our imagination runs wild here because this light source could be integrated in many other different types of equipment that need powerful and dimmable light and we start to think about all lighting, and more. But our readers should remember that an important part of this business regards applications in hospital machinery and equipment, those for conferences, residential and urban uses, and many more.


A prototype of a Phaser module with the housing that contains the phosphorus wheel highlighted.

Thanks Osram, we’ll be watching you…

Sure, because this trip was really exciting, and made even more interesting and pleasant by the beautiful sunny days in Berlin and the really good company of our contacts at Osram, the nice and cute Silvia Nagyova and Michaela Jaeger.

We would also like to thank the staff at Osram, in particular Mr. Michael Pleuser – Vice President Sales & Marketing Display Optic – and Mr. Dietmar Moczko – Product Manager Display Systemsche – who explained the products and technology to us and who were ready and willing to answer the many questions of our group of journalists, curious to find out more details. But, above all, Phaser must be studied more in depth and we will certainly keep in touch with our contacts at Osram – with whom we have already discussed the outline of this work – along with other competitor brands, who also seem to be working on similar projects…

Aldo “Hucchio” Chiappini
ZioGiorgio Network

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